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History

There is more to immigration than GDP figures. (Image: Getty)

Economists – the scourge of mankind

3 January 2014 11:31

Are there any disciplines on earth as hyped-up and overrated as economics? Every subject depends to some extent on others; you can’t, for example, understand history without a bit of… Continue reading

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Old England died in 1963

21 November 2013 12:55

There is no better measure of the pivotal importance of 1963 than to recall what Britain was like in the early 1950s, as we slowly emerged from the shadows of… Continue reading

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Kennedy Addressing

John F Kennedy was one of the nastiest presidents in American history

19 November 2013 14:55

The fiftieth anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination is, of course, an occasion for a fresh outbreak of the virulent hagiography that has corrupted the memory of his actual record.… Continue reading

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When 50,000 Irishmen gathered to commemorate the First World War

12 November 2013 15:35

As I wrote last week, I had not thought commemorating the centenary of the First World War need be a matter of controversy. But one of the reasons why it… Continue reading

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20 years after the publication of 'Clash of Civilizations', Samuel Huntington is still upsetting complacent thinkers who marginalise religion in their analyses. (BANARAS KHAN/AFP/GettyImages)

Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is still upsetting the complacent

2 October 2013 10:53

It is twenty years since Samuel Huntington’s essay ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’ was first published in Foreign Affairs. On Monday night I took part in a discussion on BBC Radio… Continue reading

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Rebekah Brooks And Andy Coulson Appear At Court Facing Charges Linked To Alleged Bribery

A history of spinners, from Robert Walpole to Damian McBride and Andy Coulson

28 September 2013 10:00

A full colour Andy Coulson looms ominously behind a black and white David Cameron on the front cover of Andrew Blick and George Jones’s book on aides to the Prime… Continue reading

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spec play

Spectator Play: The highs and the lows of what’s going on in arts this week

27 September 2013 17:51

When you hear the words ‘English art’, there are very few people who would immediately think of embroidery. As Dan Jones said when he was asked if he would like… Continue reading

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James Basire took a coach and four through early January snows in 1814 to attend his aunt's funeral. His record of that journey remains a thrilling piece of unmediated history.

Here, Mr Gove, is the thrill of raw, unvarnished history

4 September 2013 9:36

Our unrelenting appetite for historical drama is fed by a ceaseless stream of novels and dramatisations – usually, these days, something to do with those naughty Tudors. Perhaps it is… Continue reading

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A general view of the 18th green on the Alcadeisa Golf Club

Hitler’s missed opportunity: failing to smash the rock of Gibraltar

3 September 2013 11:37

It may be that only geological erosion, expected to occur sometime over the next ten million years, will finally remove Gibraltar as a source of friction between Britain and Spain.… Continue reading

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The trailer from Danny Boyle's recent National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller.

What if Byron and the Shelleys had live tweeted from the Villa Diodati?

2 September 2013 13:38

It’s one of the most famous – indeed infamous – episodes in English literary history. In the summer of 1816 Lord Byron took a villa on the banks of Lake… Continue reading

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England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege/ Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,/ With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.

Is England too good for the English? Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt seems to think so

26 August 2013 9:30

From Shakespeare’s Richard II, lines spoken by John of Gaunt. This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise,… Continue reading

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What might link Cleopatra, Augustus, Constantine, Barbarossa, Tamerlane and the Farnese?

22 August 2013 10:30

The stone called sardonyx looks a lot more fragile than it actually is. It’s luminous like glass, but hard like steel, which explains why so much of it has survived… Continue reading

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Two men examining British Ministry of Health wartime posters aimed at reducing absenteeism from war work, circa 1942. 'Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. Trap them in your handkerchief!'.

Final call for Propaganda: Power and Persuasion at the British Library

21 August 2013 11:57

For the first time in years, I thought of Tony Hancock. In the ‘Blood Donor’ episode of Hancock’s Half Hour, Hancock exits a doctors’ surgery singing the words ‘coughs and… Continue reading

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A group of Indian school children rides a cycle van to reach school near Kolkata. A reminder of how far India has yet to travel. (DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

Amartya Sen interview: India must fulfil Tagore’s vision, not Gandhi’s

20 August 2013 11:19

Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. Sen’s previous books include: Development as Freedom; Rationality and Freedom; The Argumentative Indian;… Continue reading

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Marie Duplessis, shortly before her death

The week in books – a 19th century career woman, the courtesan of the camellias, Vasily Grossman and why France is turning into the USA

16 August 2013 13:40

The forecast is bad. Football is back. Gloom strikes. Cure the malaise by reading the book reviews in this week’s Spectator. Here’s a selection: Richard Davenport-Hines introduces the celebrated American novelist… Continue reading

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Mourners file past the coffin of Winston Churchill on 30th January 1965. His body lay in state for 3 days.

Winston Churchill was a very human leader, says Churchill and Empire author Lawrence James

13 August 2013 11:18

More books have been written about Winston Churchill than perhaps any other figure in British history. Do we really need another volume added to the existing library? In Churchill and… Continue reading

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Two scenes in Henry VIII’s Psalter, illuminated by Jean Mallard, depict the king as David: (right) in the role of penitent and (left) fighting the mighty Goliath of Pope Paul III

The week in books – Tudors, thinkers, dreamers and boozers

9 August 2013 15:54

The book reviews in this week’s issue of the Spectator is worth the cover price. Here is a selection of quotes from some of them. The historian Anne Somerset enjoys… Continue reading

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Simon Schama will talking to Spectator readers about his new book, The History of the Jews, on 17th September at Cadogan Hall in London. (SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Spectator event: An evening with Simon Schama on the history of the Jews

6 August 2013 19:14

There was a row earlier today when a leading figure in the EDL linked (inadvertently, he says) to a website of anti-Semitic sympathies. It is dispiriting that, more often than… Continue reading

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A general view of the 18th green on the Alcadeisa Golf Club

Gibraltar – 200 years of history in the Spectator

6 August 2013 10:13

The most dramatic part of Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s unmatched submarine novel, Das Boot, takes place beneath the Straits of Gibraltar, when Buchheim’s U-boat is ordered from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. ‘How… Continue reading

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Plato – slave-owning aristocrat or homosexual mystic?

30 July 2013 15:45

For over two millennia, the writings of Plato had been at the very core of a Western education. Yet  by the dawn of the 21st century, Plato appeared marginalized to… Continue reading

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One of Finn Dean’s winning illustrations for the Folio Society’s Brave New World

Some brilliant book reviews

26 July 2013 15:06

As ever, the Spectator carries some splendid and erudite book reviews this week. There are contributions from stellar writers and thinkers such as Margaret MacMillan, Susan Hill, Alexander Chancellor and… Continue reading

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The week in books

19 July 2013 13:31

The best way to weather the heat wave is to head for the shade with a copy of the new issue of the Spectator, in which you will you find… Continue reading

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un salutes as he watches a military parade to mark 100 years since the birth of the country's founder and his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Korea – the 60 year war

9 July 2013 9:37

In the early morning hours of June 25, 1950 the opening shots of the Korean War were fired. At the time, few could have predicted how seminal this event would… Continue reading

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Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth (1757 - 1844) provides the music for British statesman William Wyndham Grenville (1759 - 1834) and his dancing bear, Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806). Original Artist: By James Gillray.

Henry Addington thought Robert Peel was bad. What would he have made of David Cameron?

3 July 2013 11:03

Henry Addington, first Viscount Sidmouth, was briefly and, on the whole, ingloriously Prime Minister at the beginning of the nineteenth century and then spent nearly ten years as Home Secretary… Continue reading

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Tribeca Talks After The Movie: The List - 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

George Packer interview: The American Dream is dangerous because people yearn for it to be true

2 July 2013 16:27

George Packer is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq, a book that received several prizes. Packer’s other non-fiction books… Continue reading

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